Listen: Christine Caine chats to Laura Bennett
The older you get, the more you realise resilience, and a readiness for the unexpected, are invaluable traits in life.
For preacher, author, activist and social entrepreneur Christine Caine it was cancer that threatened to derail her ministry in 2014. Yet in her new book ‘Unexpected’ she shares how it, and other life experiences, have taught her to leave fear behind and step into God’s plan.
Christine has long joked that she’s “a woman and Greek” so talking (and loudly), were always going to be part of her life. Preaching regularly around the world, and founding her anti-trafficking agency A21, her voice has certainly become a hallmark of her work.
Within a week she’d gone from a sore throat, to four different throat conditions including cancer.
Speaking with Laura Bennett, Christine said of A21, “We went from 10 years ago starting in Sydney, to Thessaloniki, Greece, to [having] 33 global offices. Who would have ever guessed? Only God.”
“We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of women, men and children rescued, dozens of traffickers in jail… and I feel like we’re just getting started.”
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Four years ago though, when Christine shared the news of her diagnosis, the future could’ve looked very different. Within a week she’d gone from having a sore throat, to being diagnosed with four different throat conditions including stage 1 thyroid cancer.
“The lump was between my larynx and trachea on my voice box,” said Christine, “so the enemy was certainly not subtle… There was a two-week period where we didn’t know how serious it was [and] I got to a place with the Lord where I said, ’I guess if you’re not going to use my voice anymore – because you can circumvent this any way you want – then you’re going to have to show me how else you want me to serve you’.”
Thankfully Christine didn’t have to look for another outlet to share the gospel—she made a full recovery.
In a blog post at the time she wrote how Jesus healed the part of her body “most used to do what God has called [her] to do.”
“I had a thyroidectomy,” Christine said in the post. “They took half of my thyroid; I won’t need any more medication, and there is now no trace of cancer in my body. Praise Jesus. He answered our prayers. He healed my body. And for that I am so thankful.”
When Healing Isn’t Your Outcome
Knowing recovery isn’t the outcome for all cancer patients, four years into Christine’s post-cancer ministry she’s seen God use it to help her bridge the gap between what people are taught about healing and faith, and how it can look in real life.
“There’s no sickness in heaven, so obviously God is not into sickness,” said Christine, “[but] some hyper-faith teaching says [to] ‘pretend that you don’t have it’, ‘don’t name it’, if you don’t get healed there’s something wrong with your faith. That kind of teaching I can’t stand.”
Seeing people pray and believe in Jesus, yet still struggle with illness is something Christine has witnessed many times, but she found her encouragement and resolve to continue trusting God in the Bible.
“There’s so much I don’t understand this side of eternity, but I’d still rather go out in faith,” said Christine. “Hebrews 11 says [some Bible heroes] didn’t even see the promise, but they believed for it, and went out and died in faith. I hang on to that thinking, “You know what God? If I don’t see the promise this side of eternity, I’m going to be counted as one of these ‘Hebrews 11 giants’, and [people will] say of [me], ‘She died believing God’.”
Read more of Christine’s story in her new book, ‘Unexpected’, available now.